Sunday, May 30, 2010

A stellar event: celebrating the AIAA registration of the ACT tracking stations

Last week I attended the ceremony at Tidbinbilla to celebrate the inscription of the three ACT tracking stations, Tidbinbilla, Orroral Valley and Honeysuckle Creek, on the AIAA Historic Aerospace Sites register.  Caught up with the darling Gordon Pike (SingTel Optus), with whom I discussed the relative advantages of spin stabilisation and three-axis stabilisation.  He also told me about Optus' tracking station at Frenchs Forest in Sydney (aha!).  I had some fascinating chats with former tracking station staff - of that more soon.  Orbital debris guru Duncan Steel (QinetiQ) was there, as well as Ian Tuohy of BAE Systems, taking a brief respite from gearing up for Hayabusa's return.  Michael West, chair of the AIAA Sydney Section, gave me a lift there and back (Tidbinbilla is about half an hour out of Canberra).  A truly wonderful occasion.

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